2008. The hopes and dreams of openness.

For well over a decade the Internet has been for the most part open, beyond control and censorship for the majority of people in the world. In the last few years the success of the restrictive practices imposed by countries like China and Iran seem to have been a huge inspiration to western telcos. The owners of the physical infrastructure of communications have been quietly mounting an all out assault on net neutrality. With CEO’s of major cable companies openly describing neutrality as “bollocks”, the governments of at least the USA and GB are making them feel very confident of winning.

By contrast the mobile phone industry ten years ago was a very closed club of companies that had successfully won licenses for the 2G networks. Then came the 3G licensing round and most commentators thought that bids necessary to win were astronomical and would bankrupt the companies involved. Fortunately there has been enough revenue around for the networks to flourish. The HSDPA/HSUPA services now available from some providers are nothing short of brilliance. The technologies mooted for 4G services could very well make the physical Internet connection redundant and usher in a world of infinite digital possibilities.

So we get to the openness. While the fixed line telcos take a shot gun to their feet. The movement towards opening up existing wireless networks, more spectrum, and the devices that connect us to it, gathers greater momentum. We could soon be approaching a critical mass for openness, will the networks open up to allow new services autonomy in what they can deliver to users? Operating Systems like Android and LiMo and the newly opened Symbian promise applications unprecedented access to the technology in handsets. The freedoms afforded by unrestricted access to data networks for information and self expression are now fundamental to human rights. Allowing users complete freedom to choose and use the apps, services, connectivity they want on the device in their pocket is, in my view, the essence of the Future of Mobile.

This is a simplified version of the rationalle I have been working with to programme this years FOM conference. Increasing openness is certain to generate a whole host of issues that will challenge everyone in the mobile ecosystem. My hope is that this years event will identify the most important issues and inspire progress in the development of solutions. The two panels on OS and Network openness will no doubt provide lively debate. The speakers will be providing a global view on where the mobile industry is headed. I’m hoping it is heading to a place where I can have complete freedom to consume content and connect with any community for an entirely reasonable subscription fee.


Exclusive: Google to talk about Android at FOM

We are excited to announce that Dave Burke from Google is going to be exclusively speaking at FOM about Google’s involvement with the Open Handset Alliance and the new mobile platform, Android. In a change to the scheduled talk on Gmail for mobile, this will be the first time Google has spoken publicly in Europe on the OHA and Android since its announcement on November 5th.

Android image

The Open Handset Alliance is a group of over 30 technology and mobile companies who have come together to build the first open platform for mobile, Android. You can find more information at the Open Handset Alliance site, where an early version of a Software Development Kit (SDK) will be available on November 12th.

You can read more on reactions to Google’s announcement at all the Guardian, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch and the BBC.

Dave Burke is an engineering manager within Google’s mobile team where he leads efforts across a wide range of application, infrastructure, and platform initiatives.

Android image

Prior to Google, Dave was a pioneer in driving the technology behind next generation interactive speech and video systems for the telecoms industry. Dave is editor of VoiceXML and related W3C and IETF standards and has authored a book on speech processing published by Wiley. Previously, Dave was the CTO and cofounder of Voxpilot. Dave holds a PhD, MEngSc and BE from University College Dublin, Ireland.

We look forward to welcoming Dave to the event, and for those of you who haven’t yet booked your seat, please note that there are only a small number still available.

Tony Fish Joins Speakers’ List


We are pleased to announce that Tony Fish, author of the book Mobile Web 2.0 and renowned industry pundit, will be our keynote speaker at Future of Mobile. Tony has worked with numerous organisations on strategy and the implications of market change. He is known for his probing questioning, clear decision making, simple no-nonsense attitude and robust financial views.

The speaking schedule is now full. Thanks to all those who suggested speakers or put themselves forward for a slot.

FOM Mobile Site Goes Live


The mobile version of the Future of Mobile website is now live. Browse it from any phone to find out schedule information, speaker line up and venue data. Thanks to Blue Flavor for designing the site for us.

Gmail joins Line Up


We’re happy to welcome Marcus Foster, Product Manager for Gmail for mobile (Apps, XHTML, APIs), to the speaking schedule. Marcus focuses on building user-centric services and making them available around the world. He has worked in the Internet and mobile industries for more than 10 years. Prior to joining Google, he worked at Yahoo!, serving as head of mobile product for Europe and director of mobile messaging. He will talking on the subject of, ‘Gmail & the Next Generation of Mobile Web Apps’.

Adobe Speaker Confirmed

Adobe speaker

We have just confirmed that the speaker from Adobe will be Matt Millar, Director of Mobile and Devices EMEA. He will be speaking on ‘Next Generation UI’s’ – how they will be designed, how they will function and how you should expect people to use them.

Matt began this role after Adobe acquired Mobile Innovation, the company he co-founded in 2002 and of which he was CTO. Mobile Innovation was a leading designer, developer and integrator of user interface, user experience and software application platforms for mobile devices.

We’re really excited to have him as part of the line up for Future of Mobile.

Join us on Facebook!

FOM facebook group
We’ve created a Facebook group for the Future of Mobile. Head over to Facebook to check it out and meet other people who are attending the conference or just interested in the mobile Web industry. We’ll be posting updates, photos, and discussions there. Come on over and write on our wall!

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